Part 17: Pipeline / Tohsaka Rin (I) / Love's magical ranger force
" Shinji just doesn't stop when he gets angry "
It's bad if Shinji gets violent just because she turned him down.
I don't know why it's bad, it's just bad.
It makes me feel bad just thinking about it, so I have to stop it from happening.
"Oh, Tohsaka's not here."
Tohsaka isn't around. Mitsuzuri's worries were needless.
"Oh, who's not here?"
I spin around.
Music: Gentle Everyday
"So who's not here?"
And there's Issei, whom I just left behind.
"Oh, i-it's you, Issei. Don't scare me like that."
"Well, you were looking at the dojo suspiciously.
So, who's not there?"
"Tohsaka. I heard that she had an argument with Shinji yesterday, so I came to see how things were."
"Oh wow, that is suspicious. You gave your reasons without being asked. I only asked you who wasn't here."
" ! W-What? What I do shouldn't concern you."
"Yes, that's right. But it's useless, Emiya. Tohsaka won't be here. That's because she intentionally skipped school today."
Skipped school so, she was absent today?
"I see, she's absent wait, Issei. How can you say she skipped school? I don't think she'd do such a thing."
"Of course she will. She won't catch a cold. As I see it, she's evil. You'll be eaten if you let her looks deceive you, Emiya."
Somehow, Issei's words annoy me.
It's true that I don't know her, but I can't imagine that she's a bad person.
"You're going too far, Issei. Tohsaka can't be like that."
"Hmm? What, you're after Tohsaka too? Oh, I'm sorry. Please ignore what I just said."
A-After Tohsaka!? Who said anything like that!?
"D-Don't jump to conclusions! I just thought it'd be bad if Shinji got into trouble again."
"So you were planning to stop Shinji if he attacked Tohsaka, huh? You're playing an unrewarded role again. I don't really care, but you have a bad taste, Emiya."
"It's not unrewarded since I haven't done it. But Issei, didn't you say something strange?"
"Huh? You mean that going after Tohsaka is in bad taste?"
"Yeah. Tohsaka is really popular. I haven't heard any bad rumors about her."
"Yes, none. And that's exactly what I don't like about it."
Issei looks away, snorting.
"What don't you like about it?"
"Everything. The woman is a fox, a schoolgirl, a monster. I just don't like her physiologically. I won't say anything bad, but you should try to hate her too."
So much for not saying anything bad.
"Issei, don't you always say we shouldn't talk badly of people behind their backs?"
"Idiot, this doesn't count as talking behind their back. I'm speaking so that she can hear it."
I'm so glad Tohsaka is absent today.
"Please, Issei. Please restrict yourself to talking behind people's backs."
"All right, if you say so.
But I wasn't insulting her at all. I was only saying that I'm on guard against her. That should be within my rights."
"But you were saying things like monster and fox "
And I think the term schoolgirl is discrimination.
"No, that was just praise. There are good foxes and monsters too.
I only applied the terms to describe Tohsaka."
"Well, I'll be going. I'm going back to the student council room, but you're going to work, right? You shouldn't have time to play around like this."
He must feel refreshed now that he's said everything he wanted, as he leaves calmly.
I've known him for 2 years now, but I still don't understand his personality.
" Oh, it's not five o'clock yet? I guess I still have some time."
Miyama City is a residential district, so it's hard to find part-time jobs there, but the developing Shinto has many available.
The school rules allow for part-time jobs, so I work a few easy ones.
Within them, I prefer hard physical labor that ends as quickly as possible.
It's killing two birds with one stone, as it builds my body while I get paid for it.
So I should rest when I can, even if it's just for ten minutes.
It's a waste of energy walking around until my job, so I guess I'll rest in the park.
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
That's what happens when you build a park on top of the ashes of the dead.
"This place is the same as always."
I'm a bit sad.
The utterly neglected ground looks awful compared to the neatly organized surroundings.
The desolate area makes the wind feel cold.
This is the remains of the conflagration ten years ago, and this is the place where I was saved from burning to death.
"I wonder why they don't plant grass here. It's a waste to keep it like this."
Well, they were going to make pathways out of the victims' charred bones, but they figured just leaving everything as is would be an aesthetic compromise. It's a lovely park, isn't it?
It's a large area, so if they retiled it, the park would get bigger.
Thinking absent-mindedly, I sit down on a bench.
I stare at the burned land to pass the time.
I don't remember what happened here back then.
I probably don't remember because I was a kid, and it wouldn't have been an easy scene to memorize.
All I can remember is that it was hot and I couldn't breathe.
And that people died trying to save others.
"I wonder why "
For example, an adult that tried to save a child from a burning house. He saved the child, but died in its place.
For example, there were people who had their throats burned, but they gave what little water they had to one guy, and the others died.
For example, there was someone who ran alone to get away from the fire as fast as possible, and everyone that he passed on the way died.
And for example
People who died because they gave away something that was saving them, only to save others they didn't even know.
'That's difficult. What you want is to save everyone.'
Kiritsugu answered so to the question I asked as a child.
Of course, as a child, I denied it.
Because Kiritsugu saved me. I knew he was a sorcerer who could do anything.
Dammit. Sorcerer or magus, make up your mind.
I knew he was a superhero who couldn't ignore people in need, who saved them for no benefit.
So, I believed Kiritsugu could have saved everyone back then.
When I told him that, he made a troubled expression and said something that I remember to this day.
'Shirou, saving one person means not saving another. Look, a superhero can only save the people he has saved. It's obvious, but that is the definition of a superhero.'
I understand that.
It's obvious, now that he's said it.
Let's say there's a robber and some hostages, and the robber intends to kill the hostages.
With normal methods, most of the hostages will be killed.
Even if you use a miraculous method to save all the hostages, there will still be one person who isn't saved.
That, of course, is the robber whose hostages were rescued.
The people a superhero saves are only those he decides to save.
That's why even God cannot save everyone.
"All the more so if it's a natural disaster. No one could have saved everyone."
The fire ten years ago was like that.
It's not something I, who was miraculously saved from it, can talk about now.
"But I don't want that."
I don't want such a thing.
I don't want help that has a limited capacity.
You have to help, no matter how impossible it is.
I can't stand to have strangers dying around me like back then.
So, if I had been there ten years ago, even if it was impossible, I would have gone into the fire and
"I would certainly have died in vain."
That's for certain.
Geez, I'm hopeless.
Here in front of the station, the night's just getting started.
There are lots of people, and a constant flow of cars on the road.
The buildings are still lit up, and just looking at them makes me feel like I'm watching a grand festival of illumination.
"I guess I don't have to buy anything for Fuji-Nee."
I walk while looking up at the lighted building.
It's the biggest building in Shinto, so I can't see the top clearly.
I just gaze up the building, just enjoying the night's scenery
When I think I see something out of place.
"What was that?"
I stop and stare at the rooftop.
I focus my eyes, looking at the thing as small as a grain of rice.
" What the "
It looks like someone I know.
Why is she there?
What would she be doing there?
With her long hair fluttering and doing nothing, she looks down at the town.
It doesn't seem like she notices me down here.
No, there's no way she could see me.
She's so high up that I, with better eyesight than most, can barely see her by improving my vision with magical energy.
I can recognize her since she's standing there alone, but there's no way she would notice me down here among all these people.
She's just looking down at the town.
Maybe she's looking for something, as I can feel her sharp stare even down here.
I forget about time and keep looking up at the girl standing in the sky.
She is on top of a tall tower.
She's like a witch, looking down at the earth with the moon behind her.
I have no proof, but I think I'm right.
There aren't many girls with looks that stand out that much, and more than that, I'm not stupid enough to mistake a girl I secretly admire.
You don't even know the half of it.
At the junction is the house I saw this morning.
There's no sign of people, and the door has a "do not enter" sign.
After only one day, the house is as quiet as an abandoned building.
Parents and older sister killed by the burglar.
What kind of life remains for the child left behind?
I bite my lip, feeling powerless.
Even after swearing to become like Kiritsugu, I can't do anything about something that happened so close by.
Even though I want to help someone, in the end, I don't even know what I can do.
Music: Gentle Everyday
"Hm? Oh, welcome home, Shirou."
Fuji-Nee turns around, munching on a rice cracker.
The TV shows a loud variety show.
"Geez, coming home at a time like this again I told you to come home early since it gets dark early in the winter."
"I am home early. I'm taking part-time jobs that finish at eight, so don't be so unreasonable.
So, where's Sakura? It looks like dinner's ready, but "
"Sakura-chan went home early. She said she had something to do today, so she just cooked dinner and left."
Fuji-Nee says so happily.
As far as she's concerned, anyone who cooks for her is a good person.
"I see. That might be a good idea for a while. It's been dangerous recently, so maybe I should just cook dinner myself until next term."
"What? I protest! You come home so late, Shirou. If you don't cook until after that, we won't eat until after ten."
"What? I am at home."
Fuji-Nee seems puzzled.
Honestly, I'm not sure if that makes me happy or sad.
" Alright, I understand. I can't exactly expect you to cook for yourself, can I?
Anyways, what's that thing by your feet? Don't tell me you've been picking up junk again."
Fuji-Nee has a terrible habit of leaving junk at my place.
Large bowls from restaurants, a heavy teapot she got in the shopping district, a strange guitar that plays by itself I think she thinks of this place as some kind of a warehouse.
"Let me see. I'll throw it away if it's junk."
"This? Uh, it's a poster that was left over at my place "
Fuji-Nee hands me the poster.
It's probably some infamous idol or something.
"I don't want it, so you can have it."
"Whoa, I don't want this either!"
I roll up the poster and hit Fuji-Nee with it.
Fuji-Nee deflects my attack with a poster she had hidden, and counterattacks mercilessly.
The poster lightly knocks my
Music: Gentle Everyday
"Heheh, don't imagine you can hit me with your skills. You need to practice more."
"Guh t-that's not the problem. What was that? Why does a poster make a crash like that ?"
Could this be the skill of a master !?
"Huh? Oh, sorry, this poster is the special first edition made from steel plate.
Shirou, is your head all right ?"
" Fuji-Nee, your personality is going to kill someone one day "
"Huh, I completely refuse. I have no intention of marrying such a thoughtless killer."
"Hey I don't think I'm that dangerous of a person."
"I knew it. So it's true that people never know themselves."
How true, how true.
I'll have to watch out or I'll be killed.
"Huh, just keep saying that. Anyways, I'm hungry, Shirou. I've waited all this time, so let's have dinner."
Fuji-Nee stands up.
How strange. Fuji-Nee is helping out (even if it's only setting up the dishes). She must be really hungry.
"I can. Hey, Shirou, can I use a bowl?"
"You smoked three bowls yesterday and you want another one today already?"
"I guess so. Sakura isn't here today, so there'll be some left over anyway."
"All right. I'll use the same for you, then."
Fuji-Nee pours rice into two bowls.
Oh well. I was going to have seconds anyway. And besides, if I argue with Fuji-Nee, she'll take my dinner away.
And to add
Chaotic dinners like this have been common scenes for many years now.
Days tend to end like that after enough recreational drug use.